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The Howling Spine - Beast Hunt Entry “Hello?” A singular, lone voice echoed through the twisting ravines of rock and ice. A few unkempt shrubs clung to the grey landscape, dotted with cracked rocks and bits of lichen clinging to life amidst the frost and the bitter wind of Odin’s Spine. “Is anyone out there?” The wind howled a chorus of notes in response, rippling through the pale fur of a bedraggled young Felvarg. She shivered, huddling in the shadow of a looming boulder and taking refuge in what little shelter it provided. With a whimper, the small pup pressed herself to the frozen stone before steeling herself against the next gust of wind.The Howling Spine - Beast Hunt Entry by JadeRavenwing
“H-Hello?” She called again, the syllables bouncing off her tongue as her teeth chattered against one another. When no response greeted her, the pup hung her head, ears drooping, and pressed onwards. The wind tore through her bedraggled fur as tiny paws left tiny puddles of melted frost, which were
“Hello?” A singular, lone voice echoed through the twisting ravines of rock and ice. A few unkempt shrubs clung to the grey landscape, dotted with cracked rocks and bits of lichen clinging to life amidst the frost and the bitter wind of Odin’s Spine. “Is anyone out there?” The wind howled a chorus of notes in response, rippling through the pale fur of a bedraggled young Felvarg. She shivered, huddling in the shadow of a looming boulder and taking refuge in what little shelter it provided. With a whimper, the small pup pressed herself to the frozen stone before steeling herself against the next gust of wind.
“H-Hello?” She called again, the syllables bouncing off her tongue as her teeth chattered against one another. When no response greeted her, the pup hung her head, ears drooping, and pressed onwards. The wind tore through her bedraggled fur as tiny paws left tiny puddles of melted frost, which were only all too eager to refreeze as the bitter air of the Spine touched them once again.
She didn’t know how long she had been in this forsaken place, but her paws had begun to feel stiff. A sure sign that she had been out in the cold for far too long. Every time she cast her eyes skyward she could see nothing but a sea of grey that rippled like the fur of an angry wolf. She had no stars to guide her, and the light of the moon barely illuminated the clouds above.
The young Felvarg’s paws collided heavily with the ground, each step jarring her shoulders and reminding her of how far she had traveled. From the shores of Lake Lysa the small pup had come, but though she had started determined and sure of her plot, the icy teeth of the mountains had begun to sap her of will and strength alike. With a shiver the pup ducked her head against the wind, bracing herself against the bitter realization that if she didn’t find shelter soon… then she would die.
She had heard tales of Odin’s Spine before, of the careless lives it had taken, and of the bitter winds that howled like Fenrir himself. Unfortunately, when surrounded by the warmth and safety of their packmates, it was difficult for a young pup to imagine anything more dangerous than a bothered hive of bees. The mountains were a cruel and effective teacher though, for its students either passed, or died. The young pup was not yet sure if she was ready to face such an ultimatum, and yet she knew she had no choice.
“Somebody! Anybody! Please!” Milani planted her feet against the icy chill of the wind, fluffing her fur in an attempt to ward off the worst of its bite. Her paws had long ago gone numb despite her efforts to keep them warm. She lifted one to her face, breathing the hot air from her lungs across it before she tucked it snuggly into her chest fur. Still she shivered, wondering if she was going to make it, or if the Spine was going to claim yet another victim.
Yet Milani was determined to continue. As she pressed onwards she found her thoughts turning back to the warmth of her mother, and the sweet, milky scent of the den she called home. “But Mama, what if I don’t want to be a hunter?” A question the young pup had asked her mother scarcely a fortnight ago. Her mother had replied with a gentle nuzzle and a warm smile. “Well, with enough determination and hard work, you can be anything you want to be, and when things seem hard you just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other.” The words of her mother rang like a crisp bell in Milani’s thoughts, and with a determined grunt she did just that, put one paw in front of the other.
Quivering muscles and aching joints greeted Milani at each step, but she found it easier to convince herself to take just one more step than to measure the distance between herself and the next boulder or crag. She continued on like this for some time, until the uneven plodding of her feet grew into a steady rhythm, broken only by the occasional gust of wind or the need to warm her paws. When the path began to grow uneven, sloping down into a small gulley, Milani began to realize she was having difficulty keeping her balance. What had once been a smooth path cut into the mountain-side was now covered with loose stones.
The more effort she put into walking, the more Milani could feel her muscles quivering. It was not the first time her claws scraped against stone to keep her balance, but this time her limbs screamed in protest, and with a surprised yelp Milani’s chin connected with the cold ground. Her teeth clacked together, and the young pup grimaced, her face contorting into an expression of pain as her hindquarters flopped heavily to the ground.
For what felt like ages Milani did not move. Every time she tried to gather her limbs beneath her she found she did not have the strength to even lick her paws, and so the exhausted Felvarg resigned herself to a few moments of rest. Fortunately, the gully blocked the worst of the wind, and so her fur was able to keep out the worst of the biting cold. Occasionally she would whimper, still clinging to the hope that she would find someone, anyone, in this Freyja forsaken place.
She was just about on the edge of sleep when a sudden bellow shook the mountainside. Pebbles clattered down the slope into the gulley where Milani lay, bouncing across the ground like excited leaves in a windstorm. With a groan the young pup lifted her head to squint into the distance. The trembling muscles in her neck and back were soon forgotten when a massive shape loomed before her. With eyes wide like the full moon Milani suddenly found strength, scrambling backwards up the slope to put distance between her and the silhouetted shape of a massive bear.
She yelped when the slippery pebbles beneath her feet gave way, but even as her chest collided with the ground her hind feet continued to scrabble at the loose stones for purchase. The bear, easily looming at least ten feet above her, swung around at the sound of Milani’s distress. The beast’s wiry fur was silvered with age, and as the beast’s beady eyes stared her down Milani realized this was the fabled Tempest. The pup killer.
Milani’s heart nearly stopped in her chest when the beast opened its jaws, revealing ragged teeth still sharp despite age, and a thunderous sound roared forth from the monster’s gaping jaws. Yet just as the beast made to move forwards a dark shadow sprang from the ledge above! It barely touched the ground before it was once again in the air, rocketing towards Tempest with a savage snarl. The unexpected intruder sent Tempest stumbling backwards, giving Milani an opportunity to escape. The young pup found that she could not move though. Her limbs felt as if they were frozen to the ground, and her blood ran cold as Tempest howled in rage.
Another snarl responded to the bear’s savage threat, blood oozing down its face as the dark shadow pushed away from the silvered beast to land just before Milani. The bear bellowed, shaking its head and flinging the blood out of its eyes before crashing to the ground on all four feet. It charged, making a bee-line straight for its assailant. “MOVE!” Milani wheezed and coughed as something suddenly collided with her, sending her tumbling farther into the gulley where she collapsed with a pained grunt. It took her a moment to realize it was not the bear that had sent her rolling, but her unexpected savior. The two of them were silhouetted against a small break in the clouds, and for a moment Milani could see the glimmering amber eyes of a darkly colored Felvarg as he was lifted high into the air by the bear’s massive paws.
With a snarl, he squirmed free from Tempest’s grasp, lunging for its sensitive ears and scrabbling at its face with his hind-paws. Tempest bellowed, the sound sending a shiver through Milani’s small body, and the dark Felvarg took the opportunity to kick off the beast’s face. He used the gained momentum to swing around to the back-side of the beast, safe from her flailing paws and snapping teeth. There he dug his teeth into the monster’s neck and shook his head from side to side, snarling savagely until flesh and fur tore free with a sickening squelch.
Again, Tempest howled, tumbling backwards to smash the dark Felvarg into the side of the mountain and crush him! The Felvarg was faster than the old bear though, and with a satisfied huff he sprang off of the beast’s back, using her face as a spring-board to launch himself into the gulley with Milani.
“Do you have bees for brains or don’t you understand when to run!” The dark Felvarg wheezed. Before she could formulate a response Milani found herself being swept off the ground, her mid-section clutched firmly in the dark Felvarg’s jaws. At first, Milani whimpered, her body protesting at the sudden movement, but when she dared to open her eyes she realized that they were being followed! Tempest was chasing them!
“It’s gaining!” Milani gasped in fear. The only response she received from her savior was a grunt. He gave no warning before leaping, landing first on a massive boulder, and then, after another leap, his front half grasped precariously at a ledge high above the gulley. With a disgusted grimace the dark Felvarg pushed Milani from his mouth with his tongue, huffing out a singular order to “stay put” before he disappeared back into the gulley below.
Milani pulled herself to the edge of her safe haven, just in time to see her savior trampled by Tempest’s massive body. Milani whimpered, retreating away from the ledge to huddle against the cold stone, her nose tucked beneath her tail. After a few moments of silent shivering Milani began to realize that she had not heard a death howl, or any sounds indicating the bear’s victory. If anything, the bear sounded confused, and when Milani finally gathered the courage to creep towards the ledge once more she discovered Tempest snuffling at the base of a crevice far too small for her to access. Down below Milani could see the amber glint of eyes shrouded in the dark. Her heart fluttered when she realized her savior was not, in fact, dead.
She saw the eyes blink up at her, slowly, and Milani gave a nod to show that she had seen. The young pup watched curiously now, her ears pricked and facing forwards as she tucked herself into a warm ball at the edge of her ledge. There was a shadow of motion in the crevice down below, which Milani followed with her eyes. Unfortunately, the crevice rounded a bend in the mountain, and soon she could no longer keep an eye on the dark Felvarg that had saved her. With a wheezed whine Milani turned her attention to Tempest. The bear was still snuffling at the crevice, reaching down with one clawed paw to occasionally claw at the ragged rock below.
When the beast’s gaze swung up to the ledge where Milani huddled the young pup froze, pressing herself as close to the stone as she could and praying to Freyja and Fenrir alike that it would not see her. After what felt like eons Tempest huffed, giving one last hard stare down into the crevice before the beast began to amble away. With a puff of hot air Milani released a breath she didn’t realize she had been holding, and the pounding in her chest began to ease.
She was alone again though. As Milani lay upon the cold stone, her paws tucked within her warm fur, she couldn’t help but wonder if she had been saved only for the mountain itself to claim her. For a moment, the young pup wondered if she should find a way down, but the dark Felvarg’s order for her to stay put, and the aching exhaustion of her limbs, convinced her otherwise. With a resigned sigh Milani tucked her nose beneath her tail, staring out at the world while she clung to the hope that her savior would return.
Sleep tugged at the edges of Milani’s mind. Each time her eyes would droop closed she would shake her head violently before tucking it back beneath her tail, but she knew that she could not fight the creeping darkness forever. Eventually she gave in, sighing heavily as her body relaxed into the gentle relief that sleep brought. The ledge was sheltered enough from the wind that she would not freeze to death, and with the hope that she would soon be rescued not even the advice from her mother could get her to move. She did not even stir when a warm body nestled around hers, tucking her into a warm embrace that smelled very much of pine trees and dirt after a fresh rain.
Been working on this off an on for the past couple days. Wanted to get it finished and up before the event closes. I kinda like how it turned out, so if you do read, thank you. <3
Word Count: 2,228
Link to import/ID#: fav.me/dayrcg2
Link to Tracker: sta.sh/028jmutbps5
Activity: Quest: Beast Hunting - Tempest
Additional Bonus Items: N/A
+11 [Wc] +2 [Nc] +1 [Act]
Total: +14 Exp
+11 [Wc] +2 [Nc] +1 [Act]
Total: +14 Exp